Saturday, March 29, 2008

Weekend Update

Unnamed Kauni Cardigan
Kauni Cardigan
Click to see bigger view.

This is moving along very quickly. Amazing how fast sweaters go in smaller sizes. I took out a section of the beige yarn to get to the pink part while the darkest part of the browns was coming along. I think the dark brown and rosy pink looks like a chocolate bon bon with a raspberry cream center. Now, I'm just hoping the pink finishes up before I get back to the caramel section of the browns. I'm prepared to delete a section of the pink if I have to to make it work.

Social Knitting
I've had a great week for socializing with knitters. My friends Kathy and Sue came over from the Milwaukee area on Thursday. I took them around to some of my favorite Madison sites: The Sow's Ear, The Digger's Outlet, Cargo Coffee, Lakeside Fibers, Willy Street St. Vincent's shop. And I off-loaded a bunch of stash to Kathy who has a knitting club for kids at her school in Milwaukee. (Although I still occasionally cave in to the urge to buy yarn, I feel like my out-flow has been exceeding my in-flow lately and this is good.) We had a wonderful time! I even let them see my lair.

Today was Last Saturday Knitting. Although a couple of regulars couldn't make it (we missed you Molly Bee and Dale!) we did manage to attract the attention of a woman who saw us knitting and is in great need of a knitting group. All in all, a good time was had by everyone.

Mr. SABLE is going to San Diego for work tomorrow, so I'll have a few days of the single mom thing to work out. The biggest sticking point comes in the morning, trying to get both kids to their schools at the appropriate time. We got through this one other time, so I know we can make it work again. It's just the idea of morning complications that I don't like.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Next Project

This is such a tantalizingly fun knit so far. The main stitch pattern, from The Swedish Mitten Book (which was republished under a different name about a decade ago), really involves only two different stitch sequences. Honest. I find it very hard to stop even when my muscles are aching and my nerves are twitching because I want to get to the next color section and see how they'll line up. I'm fervently hoping that the pink in my lighter colorway will line up with the dark rusty brown section. Of course, I could have been a diligent designer and started my skeins at the perfect spots to insure this, but I didn't. You know, I didn't even swatch this.

GASP! Did I just say that?

Well, yeah. Here's the deal. I made a swatch from this yarn in another chart (one that was all my own original work) and washed that one. And sent it off to a magazine a while back. The magazine must be planning to reject my submission, because the deadline for completed work for that issue is tomorrow. BUT they haven't yet sent me back my stuff, including my swatch. So, I'm kind of working from memory about what gauge I got and on what needles. No matter. I figure this sweater will fit someone and since it doesn't have to fit me, I just went with some plausible numbers. But, I didn't swatch this particular chart, or the border one (from Anatolian Knitting Designs), so I really didn't know how they would look together until I started. Well, I saw it in my mind, but that's not exactly the same, right?

Anyway. Bezzie, I did wind that great big round ball by hand. It took the better part of an evening back in the fall. Do you know how hard it is to wind a cone shape onto a cone by hand?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring Break...

I broke through my knitting impasse and got my next big project on the needles. Perfectionism really is the enemy of creativity. Sometimes you just have to do something, anything, just to get the process started. The main part of this should be very simple and, I hope, striking.

I've finished spinning all the mossy merino/yak I had ready. I have more of both parts, but need to get Boris (the drum carder) from my friend Fern (the co-owner) to prep the rest of it. I'm very pleased with how it's turning out. I look at that yarn and think, "Yes, I can call myself a spinner now." And my brain is running circles trying to decide which fiber to throw on the wheel next. I'm leaning toward finishing up a batch of Shetland/black alpaca I bought at Wisconsin Sheep & Wool in the fall. I'm making a nice DK-ish 3 ply out of it. I got about half way through the pound I bought in the fall before I got distracted by other stuff.

Our weather today is just glorious and yesterday was lovely, too. Sad to say, though, that we might get 9" of snow in the next 24 hours!!! Just when we thought it might really be ending. Of course, the days following that will be warming up some, so even if we do get a big dump of the white stuff, it truly cannot last long at this point. Right? Still, looking out the window at the bright blue cloudless sky, it's hard to imagine where all that snow's going to come from.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Random stuff...

Some spinning:

I made the skein in the pic a couple months ago. I've been on spinning vacation for a while but am now back to it, making the rest of this mossy merino/yak, 2 ply fingering weight.

Both these pictures get bigger if you click 'em. This is a kind of hard color to capture with any accuracy.

We're slogging along through spring break, even though it just started! We're in full-blown mud season, which is a necessary evil along the way to bona-fide spring. But it makes our outdoor options a bit more limited at a time when I think we need outdoor time more than ever.

On a more random note, I've been musing about the term "stash buster" as applied to various kinds of knitting projects. Not too long ago I saw a hat on a very popular blog described as a "stash buster." This strikes me as a bit comical. After all, how much stash can a person bust with one little hat? I've been thinking about just what it is that folks mean by that term. One meaning could be a small project you can probably make from odds and ends you have lying around. I wouldn't call that stash busting, though. More like a stash friendly project. In my mind, stash busting would involve using a bunch of different odds and ends in a big project. An afghan made from scraps and partial balls would be a great example.

I'm kind of at loose ends right now in my knitting. I hate getting to the end of one big project without having the next big one planned. Until I settle on the next big one, I'm too unfocused. All the potential projects start duking it out in my brain. Hours and days go by with precious little to show for it. And having my offspring vying for my attention all day every day makes it even worse. I have the itch to create, but I'm stymied in my efforts to get at it.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sloane Pullover Pattern Available

Sloane 2 M Sloane 1 M
The Sloane Pullover features a strong cable motif down the center front of an otherwise simple design. Knit in one piece from the top down, Sloane features fitted cap sleeves and optional bust darts and waist shaping.

Knit from a smooth classic worsted weight wool, worked at 18 st per 4"/10 cm. Pattern written for finished sizes from 36-52 inches, in 4 inch increments.
Difficulty rating: Experienced.

Pattern available for pdf download. $7 USD

Springing along...

A funny from our morning paper yesterday...

In other news
I've been crunching numbers for the Sloane Pullover all morning. I hope to get that pattern done and available by the weekend. It's very close. I had to limit the size range to Small-2X. The numbers for the 3X and above just weren't working out for the geometry of the sweater. I feel bad about this because I'm generally committed to offering patterns for as many size people as I can, but this one would really call for a whole different approach to cover the largest women.

And it looks like the ground hog was right this year. We were predicted to have 6 more weeks of winter and it's looking a bit like spring these days. You have to understand that I have always considered it a bargain to get only 6 more weeks of winter from February 2. To me, that is an early spring. I figure, what's the alternative? 8 weeks? 10? 12? So, yeah, if we can be done with most of it by mid-March, I'd say we're doing all right. Last night, our overnight low didn't even dip below freezing! It's sunny, warming, snow's melting, birds are chirping. Yep. Spring is on the way. Of course, it could always dump a big snow on us right through April, but those late season storms don't generally last too long.

Now, back to work.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Various Updates

My quest for the normal school week continues. Owen was home with a bad cold Thursday and Friday of last week. By this afternoon, he was picking fights with the Little Emperor, so I knew he was well enough for school tomorrow. The Little Emperor missed some days of school week before last. (I think it was week before last: they all run together.) I know I'm not exaggerating when I say that we have had fewer so-called normal, full school weeks since mid-December than we've had weeks with some disruption or other, either for weather, or illness, or scheduled days off. And this coming week is the last one before spring break. Spring break which, inexplicably, includes the Monday after the weekend that should be the end of break. I rant about this every year, and yet, nothing has changed!

I'm not going to whine about the interminable winter. In the spring of 1993, while we were living way up on South Hill, south of Ithaca NY, about 1000 feet above downtown, we had so much snow that, for the first time ever in my life, I had that urge to go somewhere warm by mid-March. I didn't actually go, but I got the urge. It started with the Blizzard of '93 which shut down the entire northeast for several days. I think we got about 30 inches of snow in that storm. As February and March progressed along, we just kept getting hit: another 8 inches, another 10 inches, a piddling little 6 inches, and so on. By mid April our driveway was a narrow canyon bordered by 7' walls of snow. We lived on a fairly quiet rural road, so we were able to get out of the driveway safely, but it was still an act of faith. So, while this has been bad by Wisconsin standards, I've lived through worse. Of course I was younger then... Last spring we actually went somewhere warm for spring break. That was the first time in my life I ever did that. The only time. It might happen again sometime, if the stars align just right so that money and circumstances collide in just that perfect way.

So, since I last brought up circumstances with The Garter Belt, the site has gone back online. I'll be continuing to add new patterns to my blog as they become available and also adding to TGB when possible. There's still a lot of uncertainty in the air.

As for new patterns, well, I made a great start on writing up Sloane last week before the crap all hit the fan. My goal this week, before I'm launched headlong into spring break with my kids, is to get that finished and available. This means no children are allowed to be sick. I am not allowed to be sick. No big nasty surprises should descend from the internet and pull my energy away.

And I think our high temps will be above freezing the entire coming week! Now that's something to celebrate.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Diamond Hat & Mittens Set

Diamond Hat

Diamond mittens

The Diamond Hat & Mitten set uses smooth worsted weight yarn to make the adult-size set. You may substitute sport weight for child-size mittens.
Available for pdf download. Price $6

Swirl Hat and Scarf Set

Swirl Hat and Scarf
The Swirl Hat and Scarf are worked in worsted weight smooth classic yarn, using the mosaic slip stitch technique.

Pattern available for pdf download. Price $5 USD

Add to Cart View Cart

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Sad news and transitions

The Garter Belt site is down right now, possibly permanently. Being a member of TGB has been a wonderful experience for me and I hope it will still work out. Many of you know there have been communication problems for the past year and a half. Thanks for all your support during this time.

I'm formatting pages to sell patterns from my blog, starting with my most popular items. Sorry for deluge of sales pages all at once, but they will shortly work their way down in the ranks. I will be putting thumbnail links in the sidebar, too. As I get new patterns available, I'll launch them here.

Shelagh Cardigan

Shelagh Cardigan
The Shelagh Cardigan uses DK weight yarn in a top-down one-piece raglan construction. The lacy stitch pattern is easy, but it takes a bit of attention to get it set up properly. In 7 finished sizes, from 35-60 inches.

Available for pdf download. Price $6 USD

Foothills Pullover

Foothills pullover

The Foothills Pullover is a child-sized version of my popular Adirondack Pullover. Worked in heavy worsted weight yarn, in four sizes from Small to XL.

Available for immediate download. Price $6 USD

Plum Shrug

The Plum Shrug is a top-down dressy cardigan with lace sleeves. Knit in worsted weight cotton. Five sizes from 36-52 inch finished bust, with suggestions for personalizing your fit. Crocheted edging.

Available for immediate download. Price $6 USD

Adirondack Pullover

This classic men's crewneck raglan is worked top-down. A simple seeded texture is flattering to most guys.

Uses classic worsted weight wool.

Pattern written for 5 different sizes from 40-54.5 inches finished chest measurement.


Pattern available for instant Ravelry download.
$6 USD

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Sloane (on a person!)

Finally! Photos of the Sloane Pullover on a human!
Sloane 3 M
This is my friend Leslie who graciously agreed to model. The sweater is a bit snug on her in some places and not a great fit through the shoulders, but it gets the idea across.

Sloane 2 M
I've been working on pattern writing. I had a few disruptions this past week, but hope for a full normal school week in next week.

Sloane 1 M